The Key to Embracing DevOps: A Real-Time Roadmap

While the term “DevOps” has become somewhat of an industry buzzword, it represents an important shift in the way teams think about planning, building and deploying software. Drawing its inspiration from the Agile movement, DevOps extends many of Agile’s core principles beyond development to how teams deploy, monitor and inform their next round of product planning.

Because DevOps touches so many areas of the software development lifecycle, more stakeholders than ever before are now involved in the design, production and release of software projects. With more moving parts and people, the continuous delivery of valuable software depends on these stakeholders being aligned at all times and moving in close coordination with each other.

In reality, however, that’s much easier said than done.

The problem with most projects is that they face a lag time based on the manual nature of updates required from the people doing the work. Sometimes this delay may be considerable. At the same time, accuracy becomes a problem because it involves people manually making and changing entries. This only compounds as the number of teams and dependencies involved in a project grows.

Another significant issue is the disruptive nature of context switching on development teams. Ideally, developers can concentrate on coding and not have to contend with a myriad administrative issues. In reality however, most developers are constantly forced to leave where they’re working to provide status updates for the team. Every “start-stop” slows the process and can even impede creativity.

While it’s tempting to just do away with updates, they’re incredibly important for the business. Stakeholders and customer facing teams need to understand if projects are on track or running behind schedule. Similarly, management needs to understand what projects are at risk in order to step in and provide additional resources or work with the team to determine ways to reduce scope.

So, how can teams stay aligned without compromising the developer experience?

While there’s no one right way to achieve total team alignment, one solution is maintaining a real-time roadmap that is shared between development teams, ops teams and the rest of the business. In a true, closely coupled DevOps environment, data from testing, deployment, integration, monitoring or other steps can be fed into roadmaps to reflect new realities and considerations.

If such input comes fluidly and automatically, the roadmap will not only reflect the exact status of development but also the practical matter of having software work as intended in a production environment. Again, not only can business owners know the true status of a project, adjustments and decisions can be made along the way to ensure that goals and expectations can be met.

A by-product of accurate, fluid, real-time roadmaps is the trust that stems from all being on the same page and having joint ownership for the entire process. The transparency and currency of such a vantage lessens finger-pointing and lessens “us-them” tendencies, as the work and the results can be jointly held. What results from this is accountability across the entire software development lifecycle.

Real-time, integrated, roadmaps perfectly fit with the spirit of what DevOps tries to achieve.

They operationalize work being completed and allow for user feedback and telemetry to continuously flow back into the next rounds of iteration planning. Real-time roadmaps accurately reflect what’s happening at each stage in the DevOps lifecycle, creating a single source of truth for developers, business owners and operations teams working at each stage of the process to ship value to customers.

The spirit behind DevOps calls for tighter integration leading to increased levels of efficiency and effectiveness. Adding real-time, integrated roadmaps to the DevOps discipline makes it even better.

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